The Future Tense in Italian

Learn how to conjugate and use the future tense

Vespa Scooter in Rome, Italy
Vespa Scooter in Rome, Italy. zodebala / Getty Images

Your parents will prepare pasta alla puttanesca for dinner next time. On Saturday he’ll buy that leather jacket he's been thinking about, and next year you’ll learn the future tense. (Well, let’s hope that it will be right now instead of next year, but for example’s sake, we’ll say next year.)

The future tense in Italian expresses an action that will take place, quite simply, in the future.

While in English the future is expressed with the helping verb "will" or the phrase "going to," in Italian a verb ending marks it as being set in the future tense.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Che sarà, sarà”? It means “what will be, will be”, and the final letter of the word “sarà” will give you your first taste of the future tense.

Let’s practice with the examples from the beginning of this article written in Italian.

  • La prossima cena, i tuoi, prepareranno la pasta alla puttanesca. - Your parents will prepare la pasta alla puttanesca for dinner next time.

  • Sabato, comprerà quella giacca di cuoio a cui pensava da tanto tempo. - On Saturday he’ll buy that leather jacket he’s be thinking about.

  • L’anno prossimo imparerai il tempo futuro in italiano. - Next year you’ll learn the future tense in Italian.

HOW TO CONJUGATE THE FUTURE TENSE

-ARE VERBS

The future tense (futuro semplice) of first-conjugation regular (-are) verbs is formed first by changing the infinitive ending -are into -er.

The following future endings are then added to the root:

  • -ai

  • -emo

  • -ete

  • -anno

FUTURE TENSE CONJUGATION OF CANTARE

 

io canterò

noi canteremo

tu canterai

voi canterete

lui, lei, Lei canterà

loro, essi canteranno

 

Esempi:

  • Un giorno canterò sul palcoscenico con Jovanotti. - One day I will sing onstage with Jovanotti.

  • Quando compiranno trent’anni, canteranno in una gara di karaoke! - When they turn 30 years old, they will sing in a karaoke contest!

  • Domani Marco e Anna canteranno nel coro! - Tomorrow Marco and Anna will sing in the chorus!

TIP: When the time that something is happening is noted, like “domani - tomorrow”, you don’t necessarily have to use the future tense. You can just use the present indicative and say something like, “Domani vado a scuola. - Tomorrow I’m going to school”.

-ERE and -IRE VERBS

The future tense of regular second- and third-conjugation (-ere and -ire) verbs is formed by simply dropping the final -e of the infinitive and then adding these endings:

  • -ai

  • -emo

  • -ete

  • -anno

You’ll notice that these are the same endings as those added to the -are verbs.

For a sample conjugation, see the table below, which conjugates the verbs credere and partire.

FUTURE TENSE CONJUGATIONS OF CREDERE AND PARTIRE

 

io crederò

noi crederemo

tu crederai

voi crederete

lui, lei, Lei crederà

loro, Loro crederanno

Esempi:

  • Ci crederò quando lo vedrò. - I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Dopo aver avuto dei figli, lui crederà nel vero amore. - After having had kids, he will believe in true love.

  • Crederanno a tutto quello che gli dirai. -They’ll believe everything you’ll tell them!

 

io partirò

noi partiremo

tu partirai

voi partirete

lui, lei, Lei partirà

loro, Loro partiranno

 

Esempi:

  • Alla fine di settembre partirò per Roma. - At the end of September I will leave for Rome.

  • Ti laureerai e poi partirai per l’Africa? - You will graduate and then you will leave for Africa?

  • I miei cugini partiranno il 7 di giugno. - My cousins will be leaving on June 7th.

IRREGULAR VERBS

In the future tense, some verbs are irregular. For example, the verbs dare, stare, and fare simply drop the final -e of their infinitives and form the stems dar-, star- and far-, respectively.

The stem of the verb essere is sar-. All of these stems are then combined with the regular future-tense endings listed above.

The verbs listed below also have an irregularly shortened stem in the future tense (usually, because the vowel a or e is dropped from the infinitive).

 

andare

andr-

avere

avr-

cadere

cadr-

dovere

dovr-

potere

potr-

sapere

sapr-

vedere

vedr-

vivere

vivr-

 

IRREGULAR FUTURE TENSE STEMS

Also be aware of the spelling of verbs with infinitives ending in -ciare and -giare. These verbs drop the i before adding the future endings to the root, like tu comincerai, noi viaggeremo.

Also, verbs with infinitives ending in -care and -gare add an h to the root for the future to preserve the hard sound of the c or g of the infinitive: io cercherò, loro pagheranno.